Too late for a shoe change?

By May 1, 2012Exercise, Running

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I got new shoes this weekend. Exciting, and possibly a little stupid. Okay, a lot stupid.

I’m running a half marathon at the end of the month.

My first half marathon. I typically don’t make a lot of rash or compulsive decisions, but back in January, while I was feeling the high of challenging my fear of heights on our ski trip (and feeling like God on a mountaintop), I decided one of my big to-do’s in my 30th year would be a half marathon. It’s not a new wish, I’ve actually been wanting to do one for several years. When I first started working out, the thought of running a half was my end goal, something I never thought I’d get remotely close to. But here I am. So can I do this? I’m pretty sure I can. It’s hard not to second guess myself. While I’ve been training hard for the past year, I haven’t actually pounded out a ton of miles. My speed leaves a lot to be desired, but I could easily make excuses for everything, so why not just do?

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As I’ve picked up my mileage, one problem has emerged. My shoes. They aren’t old, they don’t have too many miles. They are comfy. Maybe too comfy. When I invested in my first pair of real running shoes (Saucony ProGrid Guide 2′s), I was paranoid. I wanted lots of cushion, lots of comfort and no road noise. They did the trick. I felt like I was running on the moon. Exactly what I wanted.

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Fast forward a year and a half and things have changed a little bit. CrossFit has definitely toughened me up a bit. It’s also changed some of my preferences about the equipment and clothes I wear, all of which have become more minimalist.

I’ve been running in my New Balance Minimus’s on and off over the past few months and loving every minute. I love these shoes. For a brief minute I considered them for the half, but good sense got the better of me and I knew I needed more cushion for 13.1 miles.

Since my old shoes still had plenty of mileage left on them, I figured they’d be my go-to. But with every run they continued to get more and more annoying. I’d slip them on after being in my Minimuses (spelling?) and I’d feel clumsy, clunky and not in control of my stride.

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I waffled back and forth with what to do, and finally over the weekend decided enough was enough. I needed a middle ground. I needed less cushion, but still some cushion. I came across these Asics Gel Blurr 33’s while wandering a department store and fell in love instantly. The description sealed the deal:

The Asics Gel Blur 33 is an everyday running shoe that offers natural foot movement. Named for the 33 joints in the foot, the Asics Blur 33 is a lightweight shoe that is perfect for runners seeking superior cushioning & flexibility with the comfort of a breathable mesh upper. The Asics Gel Blur is a cushioned/neutral shoe. Cushioned/neutral shoes are for those that have high or normal arches. These shoes are able to handle long runs and protect the joints but don’t have the extra medial support that efficient runners don’t need.

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A few more reviews:

Perfect right? Here are the Asics against my beloved Minimus:

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The full spectrum:

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As crazy as I feel for changing gears at the last-minute, I can’t help but feel proud and confident in how much I’ve grown and changed over the past three years with my fitness. What started as another attempt to “lose weight and get in shape” has completely changed my life. But be honest, have I totally screwed up with this decision? Can I pull this off? Have any tips to help me break these in? Help!

Note: I didn’t picture them, but I also still enjoy small distances with my Vibrams. My kitchen table is only so big. Also, I cleaned it thoroughly post-shoot.

12 Comments

  • Leah says:

    Granted, I don’t run half marathons. But I do hike and run shorter distances, and I think a month is plenty of time for breaking in a pair of shoes. I might wear them walking around the house a few times (or on some walks) before running. Then, just work them into your rotation when running.

    Good luck on the half! I look forward to hearing more about it. I’d love to run one someday, but so far a 5k is all I can eke out with my current weight and a minor back injury. Your fitness journey has been a great inspiration, and I’m hoping to embark on my own journey here soon.

    • Jessica says:

      I’m actually wearing them to work today. Thankfully I work in an environment where no one raises an eyebrow to such a thing. So far so good!

      Thanks for the well wishes! There’s nothing small about a 5k for sure. I still get butterflies before those too!

  • Kristen says:

    I agree with Leah – a month is more than enough time to figure it out. Obviously everyone is different, but I think you’re fine! If you’ve already been running short distances in the minimuses (minimi?) your feet are probably already getting used to less shoe and they will probably love the new Asics.

    As for “breaking them in” – I have found that most running shoes these days need minimal breaking in. As long as you’re running in good socks, your feet will probably be just fine.

    • Jessica says:

      I’ve read that socks are the most underestimated part of the outfit/equipment. People even forget to wear socks, which I can’t imagine. Do you have any brand/type that you recommend in particular. I just wear typical ankle cotton socks right now…

  • Blake says:

    First off Congradulations! I didn’t realize / forgot that you were planning on this. I personally like the Half Marathon, I think the distance is great in the sense that it pushes you beyond what you are used to, but you still don’t have to change your entire life just to make the training work.

    I’m going to be a bit more skeptical then Leah and Kristen. You are making a huge gamble. I won’t say that its a bad idea, for you, it might work. Its really specific to each person and each type of shoe.

    I will say when I first read the word minimalist, I freaked, good thing I kept reading! 🙂 Minimalist shoes are great, I have a pair or Newton’s that I love, BUT making a change to minimalists a month before a half is a very stupid thing to do, but you are not doing that! now I can breathe normally.

    As far as new shoes you need to pay attention to how they feel, if they feel good, pay closer attention and make sure they are not rubbing weird or causing you to run differently. The thing with changing shoes this close to the race is you have no time to break them in or work through the little hurt they may give you. After the first run or two, if they don’t feel right, switch back to your shoes you’ve been training in. If you run too much in the new shoes and something is tweaked the wrong way, trust me, you will find out, probably about mile 9. My biggest words of wisdom is “Be Cautious” and “Listen to your Body”.

    Hopefully they work out for you and all is good!

    • Jessica says:

      Yeah, there is no way I could manage the training constraints/demands of something any longer than this, my life is too full with things that I enjoy.

      I love my Minimi (thanks Kristen!) and feel like, more than the Saucony’s, I’ve really learned HOW to run in them. My Saucony’s have always felt like auto-pilot in that, as long as I put one foot in front of the other, I don’t have to think because there is so much cushion. It’s deceptive. Running in minimalist shoes really puts the stride, position and method in your step at the forefront, and I’ve loved getting technical and evaluating what I’m doing. That and after a while, you love that control. It’s much like Neil’s racing. I could race a auto Toyota, but the manual E30 BMW has all the real driving experience.

      Fingers crossed!

  • Nah, I’ve done the same thing and swapped out shoes with a few weeks to go. Get as many miles on your new shoes as you can in the meantime so you can find any rough spots or areas that might give you blisters. But a month should be plenty of time.

    • Jessica says:

      I feel if anything, this is just a bigger incentive to finish training strong and not slack in the last few weeks. Thanks for the reassurance!

  • Rachel says:

    This post just motivates me even more to go and get new running shoes. I love my Ryka’s but I think it’s time to upgrade especially since my Half is in November. Time to really get those miles logged. Great post!

  • Elizabeth says:

    Good luck with your Half. I am excited to read your recap. Glad you cleaned that table off! haha